ELA Lesson Plans #9

 Boy is this week going to be fun!!! We are going to take some very difficult standards or level 3 cognitive difficulty standards to be exact  and turn them into a week of hands on engagement.  This week will also kick off a week and a half of monsters, bats and spiders!!!!  Our ultimate goal is to have students understand strategies that will help them to identify the main purpose of a text, including what the author wants to explain.  In order to do this, we will start the week off with a quick fact and opinion lesson.  The students will work as a whole class to sort fact and opinion about a lovable green monster named Harry.  Once they have the hang of it they will work in small groups to synthesize the information and write their own facts and opinions about another lovable monster named Sally (Harry and Sally! lol) The class will come together to wrap up the lesson with a little information about how author's use information and their opinions to write pieces.  The next day will be a tiny detour from monster fun to read a piece on dental health.  While it doesn't stick with the theme, it does a great job of guiding students through the whole standard with a purposeful text and aligned questions.  Don't worry, you'll read below that students will spend time in writing doing awesome monster activities!  We'll finish off the week with bats and spiders.  The students will have to independently show that they understand the standard by writing and opinion piece and explaining it's purpose.

Just for reference, if you don't know I use the letter t for teacher and ss for students in my outlines.  Also, you can get the lesson plan templates that I use from A Modern Teacher.

We are going to read the mentor text How To Catch A Monster on youtube this week.  The students will be working on the writing crafts of vivid verbs and adjectives while writing a narrative.  We'll kick the week off by having the students write a very detailed description of their monster with adjectives.  Each student will then get a neighbor's description where they will have to draw the monster to an exact specification.  The author will use the drawing to make revisions to their piece the next day and the drawing will happen a second time.  Once all of the students have their monster descriptions written, they will write a narrative on how to catch the monster using vivid verbs.  The students will have to have their pieces written and edited by Thursday.  Everyone will take part in an author's share where they will present their piece to their friends.  The best part is that they will have a drawing and a writing piece to hang up for all to see!

 Students who get finished early will be allowed to make a 2 minute bat or spider craft to put on their opinion writing.  Click below to see how easy it is.

If you would go to the first of the lesson outline series click here.
To find this week's resources click below.

2 Minute Frankenstein Craft

Need a quick Frankenstein craft? I designed the one above for my students to write character traits on the back after we read about Frank and Mary Shelley.  

All you need to do is simply cut out a green circle and purple/black circle per student.  The students design the hair and put their Frankenstein face together.  I found felt eyes at Target, but you could have students draw them on.  They're a perfect way to allow students to build fine motor skills without taking up a lot of class time.  You can have students glue the faces to a writing sheet or write on the back of the circle.  Have fun!  

Did you know that the author Mary Shelley had to overcome quite a bit to become one of the world's most infamous authors.  If you need a kid friendly biography or fiction story about Frankenstein click below.

DIY Dry Erase Clipboard For Guided Reading and Reading Centers

I was walking down the office supply aisle at Walmart minding my own business when I came across a stack of brightly colored clipboards for $2.48.  Upon inspecting them I noticed that they were a high gloss perfect for dry erase markers.  As a bonus they have a cord that holds supplies.  They would work perfect on their own, but I immediately thought of activities at the guided reading table.  The students need 4 square organizers for vocabulary weekly.  They also enjoy playing Connect 4 Words and writing in sound boxes.  I cut out the organizers on my Cricut and placed one on each side.  I used permanent vinyl so that it could be cleaned and stay in place.   Voila, I have a $2.48 tool that will last forever at the guided reading table or reading centers.

In case you were dying to know a 4 square vocabulary organizer helps students to work through figuring out what unknown words are.  They write the word in the middle.  They sketch out the word in one  box.  They write what they think the definition is in one box.  A synonym goes in a third box.  The last box is used for the word in a sentence.

Connect 4 words is played like a cross between tic-tac-toe and Connect Four.  You write the words you want students to work on in the boxes with dry erase marker.  They choose a word.  If they read it properly they get to mark the square.  If they don't they skip a turn.  The first player to connect 4 words in any direction, wins.

Sounds boxes are Elkonin boxes.  You write one letter in each box.  The students make each sound until they've sounded out the box.  It's a great tool for emerging readers.

These dry erase boards store perfectly on their own, but if you need to store more supplies with them scan below to see what I'm doing.

ELA Lesson Plans #8

Before we get into this week's lessons I want to answer a couple of questions from readers.  How long are my shared reading lessons?  Well it all depends, on average they are 20-30 minutes.  Some years they're longer, this year they are are usually around 20 minutes.   When you have a class that spans a huge gap in reading levels, reading time is best spent in guided reading.  Another question was; Do I differentiate? YES! Every one of the lessons in my classroom is  differentiated and we differentiate everything from reading materials, support tools to workstations, etc.  Some weeks you will see a very low lexile level in a text that I've differentiated for students while we kept the response for higher kids pretty challenging.  Feel free to email me with more questions that you may have or leave them in the comments below.  You can find the lesson plan pages at A Modern Teacher.

Learning is being kicked into overdrive this week.  So far we have covered all of the basic standards in depth and from the foundation up.  Students should be able to hold reading conversations that would blow your mind.  They can ask and answer questions.  They can find key details, do character analysis, etc.  Now it's time to give them ownership of their learning with your guidance.  We are moving into Literacy Circles.  We are going to start with text that we read together in class and end the week with self selected texts.  Students will begin by completing posters that retell the story with the lesson and character traits.  Once they understand what to do, they will select what goes on their posters at the end of the week.  I will edit this post later on to add anchor charts, but our guidelines are as follows.

Literature Circle Jobs
(jobs will change daily to help students)

Literature Circle Options
-discuss character traits
-ask and answer questions
-discuss character reactions
-retell the story
-discuss the story's lesson

Literature Circle Rules
-Everyone participates
-Everyone listens respectfully
-Everyone leads parts of the discussion

This week there will be no writing lessons.  We will be conferencing and editing our last writing assessment.

Letter Bead Word Building

Need an inexpensive way to make a word work station that builds fine motor skills? If so this is the post for you!

You'll need:
Letter beads
Bead Organizer
Letter Stickers
Pipe Cleaners

I bought all of these materials from the Dollar Store and cut the letters for the top of the organizers on my Cricut.  You could also save $1 by writing the letters with sharpies.

To put the center together simply sort the beads, place stickers in each section and provide pipe cleaners. You could even have students sort the beads for you during their work station or center time.  You'll find some close up pictures below.

ELA Lesson Plans #7

One of the mini lessons that I try to weave through my day is on falling in love with reading and introduction to new series.  If you have ever read the book "Miss Malarkey Leaves No Reader Behind" you'll be able develop a picture of me in your head of how I do this.  This week we will be exploring the series "Little Critters".  More specifically we'll be looking at their fall series which I purchased from the restaurant Cracker Barrel.  I'm sure you can find them on Amazon.  You know I'm a sucker for thematic weeks.  This week will have a subtle fall feeling from the critters series to our football workstations.

This week's post will look a bit different because I have my formal evaluation and just like every year, I'll leave you with my long lessons and free differentiated materials.  Each week you only get to see my lesson outlines.  I hope that you can use these long lessons and differentiated materials to see how you can reach all of the learners in your classroom.

The lesson plan template I use is from A Modern Teacher.

Click below for free resources to accompany this week's lesson outlines.

You can find a blog post on how to plan for formal evaluations/observations and more free resources by clicking on the photo below.

ELA Lesson Plans #6

This week's lessons focused on how character's respond to events.  The texts that we used were wonderful for this standard.  I will forewarn you that they are each very deep and you should pre read the text and decide what is best for your class.

In the text "Amazing Grace", the main character endears the reader from the start with her love for reading, story telling and imagination.  During the climax of the text Grace's classmates tell her that she can't play Peter Pan in her class play because she is a girl and person of color.  Grace's grandma steals the show with her reaction to the events teaching students that they can be anything they want to be.

In the text "Something Beautiful" the character is dismayed at certain parts of her neighborhood.  The focus being her courtyard which is riddled with trash and has graffiti on the front door.  The girl goes through the book collecting information on what makes life beautiful and ultimately decides to be proactive and make her neighborhood beautiful one action at a time.

The text "Fly Away Home" features a homeless father and son.  It shows their daily struggles and their reactions to the events in their every day life.  In the text the boy learns to be patient and wait for his turn to fly away home just like a bird that he encountered.  Make sure to have the tissues handy this week!

Are you interested in what my workstations look like? If so, take a look below.  Each week I differentiate reading stations for my students.  They have a great hands-on learning experience while their reading grows.  Click on the picture below to link to the units in my store.